Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Short Answer Responses and Essay

Main content start

The short-answer questions invite you to share in your own words what you have done, who you are, and what you aspire to do in the future.

Remember that you have listed activities and accomplishments in your resume and background information, so take this opportunity to show your more personal side. We ask you to answer three questions:

  1. After graduating from Stanford, what are your immediate and long-term intentions?  How will your Knight-Hennessy Scholars experience prepare you to realize your intentions? (250 word limit)
  2. Please tell us when you: a) made someone proud of you, b) were most challenged, and c) did not meet expectations. (150 word limit combined)
  3. Please tell us eight improbable facts (things that are unlikely but true) about you. (150 word limit combined)

The essay prompt invites you to reflect deeply on your life’s journey and the people, events, and circumstances that have impacted it.

There is no right answer, topic, or format — only you can tell your own story — and yet we hope you will focus much less on what you have done and much more on who you are. The strongest essays balance introspection with recognition of external influences, and are so personal that no one else could have possibly written it. The essay topic:

  1. Connect the dots. How have the influences in your life shaped you? (600 word limit)

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What are improbable facts?

A: Improbable facts are aspects about you - experiences, beliefs, traits, skills, etc. - that seem unlikely but are true. This does not mean a list of achievements. Use this as a way to show a different side of you. And have some fun!


Last updated April 29, 2021